New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Erwin McManus

How To Use Spirituality To Achieve Your Highest Potential


Take a minute to ask yourself this question: Do you love yourself unconditionally? Be honest. With everyone’s lives always on full display with social media, it’s easier than ever to compare ourselves to others, feel inadequate, and unhappy. We think that we can only be happy when we get that new job, make more money, or be in a relationship with someone amazing. While it’s completely normal to want some of these things, happiness shouldn’t be a reward you give yourself for reaching a goal — it is something you can achieve now. 

I know this is easier said than done. I also experience times when my self-confidence and self-love come into question. However, there are moments when we all need to dig even deeper for that inspiration to move forward.

One way to build unbreakable self-love is to become more empathetic. By cultivating empathy, we not only create more love for others but ourselves as well. Today, our returning guest will tell us how we can grow a deep, unwavering love for ourselves and achieve our highest potential. Let’s welcome back, Erwin McManus!

My conversation with Erwin was powerful. We discussed how we are all born geniuses, but most of us grow out of it in adulthood. We also dove deep into cultivating our fullest potential in life, why empathy is the highest form of intelligence, and so much more. 

No matter where you stand when it comes to spirituality, I think you’ll gain value in the principles and lessons Erwin lays out. So if you’re ready, let’s get into it!

Who Is Erwin McManus?

Erwin McManus is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, fashion designer, filmmaker, and founder of Mosaic, a church movement based in the heart of Hollywood with a community that spans the globe. He committed his life to the study of genius and the pursuit of God never knowing that the two worlds would one day collide. 

He is also the acclaimed author of The Way of the Warrior, The Last Arrow, and other leading books on spirituality and creativity. Currently, he’s written a new book called, The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything.

McManus finished his degree in philosophy at Elon University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Southeastern University. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, Kim McManus.

Erwin is truly a remarkable man, and I’m honored to have him on the show!

We Were All Once Geniuses

Would you believe it if I told you that we’re all geniuses as children? However, most of us grow out of our genius as we get older and start to conform. This mind-blowing claim is what Erwin shared in our conversation.

“98% of us are born geniuses. 2% of us live out that genius. … We lose this capacity the same way we do with human creativity and imagination. A part of the mistake of adulthood is that we see maturity as equivalent to standardization. If I can make you the same as everyone else, you’re now an adult. If I can teach you to be standardized and to conform, you are now an adult.” – Erwin McManus

What Erwin is saying is we stop our innate capacity to be geniuses when we start conforming. As young kids, we have it within us to be the genius we were meant to be — a musician, a writer, an artist — whatever it is. As we grow up, some of us are blessed to encounter different opportunities that help us cultivate it. But for some, a lack of opportunities limits them from achieving greatness.

For example, I’ve always been in love with the Spanish language. I see it as a language of love, and I’m currently taking classes to learn to speak it. Erwin believes that if I were given a chance to move to Spain or other places as a young kid, it would have been effortless for me to speak it today.

“If you’d had the benefit of moving to four or five places from the age of one to ten, you might’ve learned different languages. Americans only speak one language because their brain knew they only needed one language to survive, to thrive. … Our brain will only learn and hold the capacity for what it needs to survive.” – Erwin McManus

I felt that these words of Erwin were true. We are all geniuses, but sometimes, our current environment doesn’t allow us to be who we are. However, this doesn’t have to be our story. When we’re open to being inspired, we can grow back to being geniuses again and achieve our highest potential in life. 

What Is a Genius? How Can You Be One?

When you’re trying to figure out if you’re a genius or not, you may think that it’s all about having a high IQ. However, in my conversation with Erwin, we agreed that it can come in multiple forms — music, sports, literature, anything! Even more, we agree that a genius actualizes the limitless potential within them. Now the big question is, how can that be done?

“I would say it’s a matter of focus. Don’t focus on your potential because that becomes incredibly self-centered. Rather, focus on making sure that you do the best in the world and for others.” – Erwin McManus

Now, this might be easy if you know what your potential is. But how can you tap into your most actualized self if you don’t even know where your greatest potential lies in the first place? Erwin has different advice when it comes to this.

“Some people say, ‘Follow your passions,’ right? But some people can be passionate about ten different things. Then some people say, ‘Do what you’re good at,’ but some people are talented at multiple things, or some feel like they’re not talented at anything. … I think it’s not even about these two things. … It is an intersection of being passionate and [having] natural talent. Passion gives you the energy that fuels you to do something you love. Now, your talent is those abilities that you seem to be predisposed to be good at.” – Erwin McManus

“The future is not in your hands, it’s in your soul.” @erwinmcmanus  

If you’re in that position where you can’t seem to find what you’re good at, let me tell you that it’s not the end of the road yet. Erwin reminds us we can always tap into our genius, live out our dreams, and be happy doing it! This can happen by going after the things we’re both good at and passionate about. Lastly, he shares another path to becoming the genius that we are meant to be.

“It’s also what’s behind the curtain. What do you love to grow in? What do you love to learn? What do you love to develop? … Because many love the idea of the outcome, but many don’t love the reality of the process. You can usually identify the dream that you were created to live out because you love the struggle, not just the success.” – Erwin McManus

These pieces of advice are massive! Not only can they help us discover our best potential and live out our genius, but I think that they’re very practical in helping us realize our purpose as well. Anyone can apply them in their career, their education, and even in their personal lives. After all, we’ll only be able to advance when we know what we need to do next.

So, let me ask you, “What’s your genius?” I hope you’ll find inspiration from Erwin McManus’ words and use them to achieve your highest potential!

How Spirituality Can Help You Achieve Your Highest Potential

Erwin and I just established that we’re all geniuses, and there are many ways to discover how to be one. However, he also shares that the common types of genius we know of have their limitations. Although many of us want to be athletes, sometimes, the reality of the sports we’re playing doesn’t allow us all to be top players. The same goes when we’re in music, academics, and other fields. So how can we be geniuses if this is how things work? Does it also mean that we can never live up to our potential?

The answer is no. Erwin shares why:

“I could spend my life trying to be Picasso, but I’ll never be him. I could also try to be like Bobby Fisher, but I might never become a master in chess. But there is one genius that can be copied and transferred. That’s the genius of Jesus.Erwin McManus

According to Erwin, the genius of Jesus is how to be fully human. He further explains that Jesus’ genius didn’t focus on trying to change art or music, but on changing us. 

“Jesus’ genius is transferable. It’s because all over the world from every generation and every culture — every level of education or economic status — when a person is genuinely affected by Jesus, they want to live for the good, beautiful, and the true.” – Erwin McManus

When we strive for the good, beautiful, and true, what happens to us? We become more empathic, gracious, and compassionate. Through empathy, we learn to love others for who they are, not what they do. By grace, we understand that it takes more than our strength to contribute to society. Rather, it takes forgiveness. With compassion, we learn that there is a need that we can meet. All these help us work on our spirituality, which makes our life purposeful.

So, by following the genius of Jesus, you too can live your life to its fullest potential! So let’s go out there and do it! Live beautifully, act gracefully, and love compassionately.

Why You Should Listen to This Erwin McManus Podcast Episode Right Now…

Guys, this interview with Erwin McManus reminds us that having a spiritual aim in life is an excellent way to achieve the highest potential that you have within yourself. I hope that you can embrace this podcast episode as an inspiration for positive change in your endeavors!

Also, if you find this episode helpful, share it with your loved ones who might benefit from this as well! Make sure to also tag Erwin, @erwinmcmanus, and me, @lewishowes if you do decide to do so — I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Also, don’t forget to listen and leave a review in our Apple Podcasts to know how you feel about each episode! Lastly, grab a copy of Erwin’s latest book, The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything! I’m sure it will be a great addition to your library.

So there you have it! Again, we all have our genius within ourselves. The more we strive for it, the closer we get to achieving our highest potential! Also, remember that this is only part one of my interview with Erwin, so do check out part two, where Erwin shares more exciting stuff — including the keys to having a healthy relationship!

If you’re ready to learn how to tap into your highest form of intelligence and get started on the path to unconditional love for yourself, then don’t miss Episode 1,165 of The School of Greatness!

To Greatness,

Lewis Howes - Signature

“I wonder how many different aspects of human genius were simply left unnurtured and so we lost them along the way.” @erwinmcmanus  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • How do we live to our fullest potential?
  • What can we do to find our purpose?
  • What is the genius of Jesus?
  • What is the difference between the right and the good?
  • What questions should we be asking ourselves to do more good, not be more right?
  • Why don’t we give love abundantly?
  • What is your advice for people who lose faith in God?
  • Was there a time when you questioned your faith?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How we are all born geniuses, but most of us grow out of it in adulthood.
  • How to cultivate our fullest potential in life.
  • Why empathy is the highest form of intelligence.
  • How to fully love ourselves unconditionally.
  • The difference between faith and belief.
  • And much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Erwin McManus

Transcript of this Episode

Music Credits:


Kaibu by Killercats

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